Over the last few weeks, a lot of things around me have started to break.
Most annoyingly, the TV that was given to my father just over 18 months ago has developed a fault in the panel – the lower quarter flickers and then stays slightly greyer and fuzzier than the rest. It’s only 18 months old, but it’s outside the warranty period.
At the same time as the TV, they got a soundbar as well, and that has now broken too. I simply don’t understand how, and I’m really not inclined to buy another Sony A/V product right at the moment.
Meanwhile at home, my Sony receiver is also playing up. It will turn itself off at random intervals – normally after a few hours. The TV no longer controls the sound on it. I’m not 100% certain when I bought it, but it’s well over 5 years old at this point.
Then there’s my Sky box. This has on occasion needed a reboot every month or so, but now it’s getting a little flakier. It seems to lose signal from one and then the other LNB at various points. A cold reboot fixes it, but the end is clearly nigh.
Most urgently, there’s my washing machine. A week or so ago I had completed a wash cycle, but had not yet emptied the load. While I was doing some washing up, I heard a loud bang, the source of which I couldn’t track down. I subsequently emptied the load and on trying to put a second load on, noticed that there was no power. The fuse in the machine’s plug had blown. But when I replaced it, although it seemed to come back to life, a flashing door icon restricted me from doing anything else. Nothing I did could make the machine work.
A friend on Twitter suggested that replacing the master board on a washing machine isn’t that difficult. I quick check of a YouTube video confirmed that such a job was well within my wheelhouse. However, I’d be spending £40-50 on a part that I didn’t know wouldn’t instantly break again.
Suffice to say that a new machine arrived on Friday. And to give it some due, the previous machine had run without issue for 10 years.
The reality is that most of these devices aren’t really fixable. A good washing machine technician could probably have sorted out that. But once call-out, parts and some billable time had been included, I’d be at at least half the price of a new machine. Things with moving parts do break after all. And this new machine will be more energy efficient than my old one.
The TV and soundbar faults are more frustrating. I can’t attempt to fix them, and again it’ll be cheaper to buy new items. As an aside, I’m giving Resolver a chance to help to me. But it gets complex because I don’t live near my parents.
On a related note, I started looking at Sky HD options considering it looks like the box is going to die soon. Sky has its new Q box, but goodness – they’re expensive.
One significant issue for me is that my current Sky box is quite full. I would need to “watch down” everything before switching devices, as there’s no supported way to transfer recordings between boxes (There are very much unsupported options of either using HDMI out to record to another device, or using software to decode programmes direct from the machine’s hard drive).
More to the point Sky Q boxes are rented from Sky and not owned. There’s a flat £12 a month fee for that rental, which quickly adds up. Plus they seem to want £199 for installation – as I’m neither interested in, nor wish to pay for multi-room. Of course, if I was a new subscriber, I wouldn’t have to pay nearly as much as this.
Since I don’t have a 4K TV, this is all a bit moot, since it wouldn’t offer a great deal more. Instead, I can buy a new Sky HD 2TB box for around £140 from Amazon.
Finally, over Christmas, I noticed that my laptop’s WiFi was a little flaky. I mostly use it at home, and connect it via ethernet so hadn’t noticed. Fortunately, that at least looks like it’s an achievable fix that I can do myself.